French love quotes

10 French Love Quotes to Impress Your Crush

The French language is known for being romantic. So rather than getting your significant other a box of chocolates or flowers, you can impress them even more by learning some of these French love quotes.

Learning French love quotes is sure to sweep your date off his or her feet. Just make sure that you practice the right pronunciation to avoid an embarrassing mishap!

10 French Love Quotes

1. “Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

French love quotes

English translation: “Love does not consist in looking at each other, but rather in, together, looking in the same direction.”

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2.  “C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.”  – Albert Camus

French love quotes

English translation: “That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.”

3. “En sa beauté gît ma mort et ma vie.” – Maurice Scève

French love quotes

English translation: “In her beauty resides my death and my life.”

4. “Une femme est plus belle que le monde où je vis, et je ferme les yeux.” – Paul Éluard

French love quotes

English translation: “A woman is more beautiful than the world in which I live, and so I close my eyes.”

5. “Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.” -Rosemonde Gérard

French love quotes

English translation: “For, you see, each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.”

See Also- Flirting in French: 25 Head-turning Phrases You Need to Know

6. “Il n’y a qu’un bonheur dans la vie, c’est d’aimer et d’être aimé.” – George SandFrench love quotes

English translation: “There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.”

7. “Il n’est rien de réel que le rêve et l’amour.” – Anna de Noailles

French love quotes

English translation: “Nothing is real but dreams and love.”

8. “Amour veut tout sans nombre, amour n’a point de loi.” – Pierre de Ronsard

French love quotes

English translation: “Love wants everything without condition, love has no law.”

9. “La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel.” – Victor Hugo

French love quotes

English translation: “Life is a flower of which love is the honey.”

10. “La vie est un sommeil, l’amour en est le rêve.” – Alfred de Musset

French love quotes

English translation: “Life is a long sleep and love is its dream.”

Any of these French love quotes is sure to impress your special someone. Want to learn more romantic phrases and sayings? Check out our tutorial on French flirting below!

Now you know why it’s often said that French is the language of love. To work on your conversational skills and improve your French accent, join one of our live, online classes for free today!

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8 Places to Visit in France Outside Paris

Are you planning a vacation to France? French teacher, Carol Beth L. shares eight wonderful places to visit in France outside of Paris…

Chances are the “City of Light” is one of the top places to visit on your travel itinerary. Visiting Paris, however, doesn’t mean you’ve seen all that France has to offer by a long shot. There are many other wonderful places to visit in France.

Lucky for you, Europe has a relatively good rail system, which means you can visit places in France with ease and comfort. If you’re not sure where to start, below are eight beautiful places to visit in France.

In addition to speaking French with locals, be sure to take in all of the French culture and delicious French foods. After all, each region has it’s own unique specialties.

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Are you an avid skier or snowboarder? The French Alps border France to the east, right along Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

The mountain range is known for its height and beauty, and makes for an excellent ski or hiking location.

This southern French castle has an interesting story. According to legend, a peasant girl saved the inhabitants from siege when she suggested they catapult a pig fattened with their last grain.

The castle itself is beautiful and worth the trip. It is relatively close to the city of Toulouse, which is home to several cathedrals and museums, including the Pont Neuf, la Cite de l’Espace, and more.

If you like architecture then you’ll love Loire Valley. Loire Valley is home to several astonishing castles.

The best part is you can see several different castles in a short period of time, as they are located in close proximity to one another.

Located on the eastern coast of France, this beautiful castle is connected to shore by a thin strip of beach during low tide. During high tide, it becomes an island.

Book the castle hotel (in advance) and stay the night. You’ll get to eat on castle grounds, and march all the way up to the church at the very top of the castle.

See Also: French Phrases for Travelers (Video)

Located in the province of Dordogne, these caves boast some of Western Europe’s best and most extensive examples of prehistoric cave paintings.

If you’re a history, anthropology, or art buff, this might be a good place for you to start your journey.

This capital city of the eastern province of Alsace lies right along France’s eastern border with Germany.

The German influence is still evident, especially in the food and the street signs, which are in French, German, and English.

Try some sausages or other local dishes before you leave. Some notable city sites include the Musee d’Alsace, the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, the European Parliament, and the Musee du Chocolat.

Aix-en-Provence is located in the south of France, close to Marseilles. You’ll have the taste of the sun, seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables typically associated with southern France.

A few well-known locations include the Cours Mirabeau, the Aux Cathedral, and the Museum of Natural History.

If you’re there in the month of July, keep your eyes peeled for events related to the Aix-en-Provence Festival, an annual music festival.

Located in the north of France, Rouen contains a number of old churches worth visiting, including a local cathedral later painted by Monet and a church named after Saint Joan of Arc.

Also of interest are Rouen’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, Jardin des Plantes, Natural History Museum, and Maritime Museum.

These places to visit in France offer both beauty and history. Check with the local office of tourism and with your hotel, as they may offer expert guided tours.

And of course, learn some French. Even if you aren’t perfect, locals will surely appreciate your efforts!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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French Movies on Netflix Streaming Right Now – January 2016

FRENCH MOVIES

The best thing about learning French is that you can call staying in and watching movies “studying”. Doesn’t that Netflix binge seem productive now?

So, what’s in the study queue this month? These great French movies on Netflix are all streaming now!

The Chorus (2004) PG-13

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Music teacher, Clément Mathieu (Gérard Jugnot) starts a boys choir at a strict boarding school for boys in France. One child in particular, Pierre, is an aimless troublemaker, but his music teacher sees promise in his budding abilities. 68% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Nun (2013) R

In this film based on a novel by Denis Diderot, young Suzanne is forced to become a nun because she is an illegitimate child. Suzanne struggles with the strict discipline of the nuns and considers breaking her vows. 75% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Diplomacy (2014) Unrated

Set in World War II, this riveting drama follows two diplomats whose negotiations played a pivotal role in the war as they debate the future of Paris. 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.

In The House (2013) R

A precocious student inserts himself into his classmate’s family, giving his writing teacher voyeuristic thrills and new inspiration. 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Haute Cuisine (2012) PG-13

A cook from a truffle farm in Périgord played by Catherine Frot becomes the personal chef of France’s president. Based on a true story, this film serves up a slice of French life as well as glimpses of fabulous food. 68% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Holy Motors (2012) Unrated

In this mind-bending French movie, actor Denis Lavant plays a mysterious man who himself dresses in costumes to play many odd, improvised roles. Accompanied by his loyal driver, he travels around Paris to take part in a number of unusual (and sometimes violent) scenes. 91% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Tomboy (2011) Unrated

10-year-old Laure moves with her family to a new neighborhood, where she begins a new life as a boy, Mikäel. Lead actress Zoé Héran received warm critical acclaim for her role as a transgender child. 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Yves Saint Laurent (2014) R

This drama follows the turbulent and glamorous life of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. After being fired from the House of Dior, Saint Laurent and his partner built their own formidable fashion house. 45% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Have you seen any great French movies on Netflix lately? Let us know about them in the comments below, check back with us each month to find more great French movies!

 

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French Holidays: Celebrating La Fête des Rois

french holidays la fete des rois

Learning about and celebrating French holidays is a wonderful way to understand more about French culture as you study this beautiful language. French tutor Carol Beth L. shares the basics you need to know about La Fête des Rois…

French Holidays: La Fête des Rois

french holiday fete des rois

For many people in the United States, Christmas ends at midnight on the evening of December 25th.

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In France, more people probably still remember that according to the Christian calendar, the Christmas season doesn’t officially end until after Epiphany, also known as Twelfth Night or the Feast of the Kings (La Fête des Rois), on January 6th.

Why? Well, because many French still celebrate it in one way or another.

For those who are practicing Catholics, church may still be an important part of the Epiphany celebration. It recognizes the day when the baby Jesus was visited by wise men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, becoming some of the first to anticipate the influence the then newborn would later have.

Though Biblical accounts don’t give an exact number and describe them as magi (as opposed to kings), these wise men have traditionally been represented as a royal threesome by the names of Balthazar, Melchior, and Gaspar or Casper.

Galette des Rois

french holidays galettes

The most notable French tradition to spread beyond religious or practicing Christians is the galette des rois, a flaky cake with sweet almond or fruit-based filling.

A fève, usually a small plastic trinket or a bean, is hidden inside the cake, which is often sold with a crown. The cake is divided by the number of guests, plus sometimes one extra “poor man’s part” for the first person to arrive at the door. The one who finds the fève is crowned king or queen for a day.

Those living in France can find a galette des rois at any typical French boulangerie during this season.

If you are living in the US and want to experience this tradition for yourself, it is more difficult but not impossible to find une galette. Especially in larger cities, there is often a bakery that has discovered and decided to capitalize on the local population of French-speakers and Francophiles.

If you cannot find one locally, consider ordering online. Cuis’in for example, delivers galettes seasonally anywhere in the US and Canada.

Galette des Rois Recipe

french holidays galette des rois

If you like cooking French food, why not try your hand at preparing your own kings cake or galette des rois? We like this recipe from French Today:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup almond paste
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions
  • 1 dried bean (lima or kidney beans work well)
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450°F. Buttered large baking sheet (not dark metal).

1. In a food processor, purée the almond paste, sugar, butter and pinch of salt until smooth.

2. Add 1 egg, vanilla and almond extracts and purée until incorporated.

3. Add the flour and pulse to mix it in.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of the puff pastry into an 11-1/2 inch square.

5. Invert an 11-inch pie plate onto the square and cut out a round shape by tracing the outline of the pie plate with the tip of a paring knife.

6. Brush the flour from both sides of the round and place it on the buttered baking sheet. Put in the refrigerator to chill.

7. Repeat the procedure with the second square of puff pastry, but leave it on the floured work surface.

8. Beat the remaining egg and brush some of it on top of the second round. Score decoratively all over the top using the tip of a paring knife and make several small slits all the way through the pastry to create steam vents.

9. Remove the first sheet from the refrigerator and brush some of the egg in a 1-inch border around the edge. Mound the almond cream in the center, spreading slightly.

10. Bury the bean in the almond cream. Place the scored round on top and press the edges together.

11. Bake the galette in the lower third of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and dust with the confectioners’ sugar.

12. Place oven rack in the upper third of the oven and return galette to cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the edge is a deep golden brown. Transfer to a rack to cool slightly.

Serving Instructions:

Serve the galette warm. Make sure everybody knows about the bean so no one breaks a tooth!

Are there any special French holidays that you celebrate? Share them with us in the comments below!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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Un, Le, Ce, or De? French Articles Explained

french articles

As an English speaker learning French, articles are little words that can still give you big problems.

Since French nouns are masculine, feminine, and plural and have different articles to distinguish them, you will need to memorize at least two French articles for each English one.

To help you master French articles, we’ve broken them down into groups for you to study.

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Basics

The first thing you need to learn are the English articles so that you can get a better understanding of what to use in French.

There are really only two English articles:

  • The – definite article
  • A/An – indefinite article

French articles (like most languages outside of Germanic ones) use other words as articles, and even allow you to omit articles from time to time. The following are considered French articles, although their function is largely the same as in English. Because you have to be aware of the gender of a noun, you have to treat these words the save as an article.

  • Some – Partitive article
  • This

Finally, there are special cases where you either need to use an article where you wouldn’t in English or you can omit an articles where you use an article in English.

  • Article additions and omissions

Definite Articles – Le, La, and Les (“The” in French)

Le, La, and Les

Probably the most widely used English article is the. You use it all the time without having to think about it because there is only one word in English.

It is called a definitive article because the word the denotes something that is specific, such as the chair, the stores, or the moment. Each of these refers to a specific thing or group of things.

There are four definite French articles that mean the, and those are the le articles. Each of the definite articles has a specific meaning.

  • Le – the masculine definite article. Whenever you see a word preceded by the French article le, that means that the noun is masculine, so if you want to switch to one of the other French articles, you would use the masculine version of the article.
  • La – the feminine definite article. All singular feminine nouns are preceded by la.
  • L’ – the definite article when the noun starts with a vowel.
  • Les – the plural definite article. All plural nouns, regardless of gender, receive the same article, les, to indicate that it is plural. If you have to add the plural indicator (such as s or es) you add les before it.

It is a little more difficult to understand the differences if you are a native English speaker because there is no equivalent. English does not have gendered nouns and the language does not differentiate between singular and plural when using the definite article the.

This is perhaps why it is most difficult to translate what you know into French with the right use, and it takes a lot of memorization. However, once you memorize the gender of a noun, you can more easily use all of the other French articles.

For example, you would say le fils for the son and la fille for the daughter. You would use the corresponding masculine or feminine article for a/an, of, or this.

The definite article l’ is similar to the English indefinite article an for the same reason. Saying a apple is difficult, but if you add the letter n it is easier.

Both of the French articles for the (la and le) end with vowel sounds that are difficult to flow into another vowel sound, such as enfant (child). The trick is to remember that the French language needs this for their definite articles, not their indefinite articles (the next section).

Plural nouns are a little easier because you do not consider gender. Whenever you have a plural noun, you always use les to indicate that you are using the plural form of the word.

There is more to know about plurals and les because the French use definite articles at times when English speakers and omit them other times where you would usually omit them. These are covered in the last section.

Indefinite Articles – Un, Une, and Des (“A” in French)

un une and des

Indefinite articles are used when you are referring to anything that you would consider generic, such as a chair or an apple. When you say you want an apple, you don’t have a specific one in mind. If you have washed an apple and left it on the counter, you would say you want the apple on the counter instead of one of the apples in the basket or refrigerator.

The French have an equivalent version for the indefinite article based on the nouns gender and if it is plural. This means there are three articles to learn.

  • Un – the masculine version of the English article a.
  • Une – the feminine version of the English article a.
  • Des – the plural version, although there is no English equivalent. This one is covered in more depth later in this section.

Using un and une is pretty much memorization of each noun gender. For example,

Once you learn a nouns gender, it is a simple matter of using un and une correctly.

If you read the information on des, you may have been trying to think of a correlation in English and found yourself confused. That’s because as a native English speaker, you do not think of using indefinite articles with plural nouns.

You know not to say a chairs or an apples. In English the indefinite article is always singular.

The French language has a different set of rules, and so have a corresponding article, which means that it really doesn’t have a direct translation (because English does not use this article with plurals).

Of all the French articles, this one is probably among the most difficult because you will naturally try to do a direct translation, which means you will exclude the required des.

Partitive Articles – De, De La, De L’, and Des (“Some” in French)

de de la and des

Another word that does not have an exact translation, it essentially functions like to the English word “some”. It is used whenever you talk about something that can be divided into smaller parts, such as bread or juice.

  • I would like some bread.
  • I would like a glass of juice.

The other use for these words is to specify that you do not know the quantity. For example, most of the time you would not each an entire pie, but you probably don’t know example how much. You would say you ate some pie. If you know the amount or are talking about something generic, you would use the or a/an just like English. Otherwise, you would select one of these four partitive articles.

  • De – the masculine article for some.
  • De la – the feminine article for some.
  • De l’ – the article for some when the noun starts with a vowel.
  • Des – the article for some for all plural nouns. Note that this is used when the number is not specified. If you have a specific number, you would say the quantity instead of some, such as I ate nine rolls instead of I ate some rolls.

Happily, they follow the same rules as the definite articles in terms of use, so once you know how to use the properly, you can more easily discuss portions.

Ce, Ceci, Cela, and Ça (“This” in French)

ce ceci cela and ca

Technically, this is a pronoun, but because it is so closely tied with the article you used in the previous sentence, it is best to discuss it at the same time. The English article this is a rough equivalent for these four pronouns.

Do not equate these four articles with gender though because their use is not gender based.

  • Ce – roughly English this or it. Primarily you would use this with verb être (to be) or an impersonal expression. When used, in a sentence, it becomes c’est.

C’est une bonne idée. – That’s a good idea.

C’est difficile à faire. – It’s hard to do.

As the examples show, you can think of it as a contraction with être, just like English uses the contractions that’s and it’s.

  • Ceci and cela – the articles are used with all other verbs for the same purpose. Ceci is used in place of this and cela is use in place of that. Whenever the verb être does not appear, you use one of these two articles. You use ceci to indicate something that is close by (this pie or this color). You use cela to indicate something that is further away (that house or that chair). Determine which of the two you would say, then you can do a straight translation for both of these.

Ceci peut nous aider. – This could help us.

Cela me fait plaisir. – That makes me happy

Je ne veux pas cela, je veux ceci. – I don’t want that, I want this.

  • Ça – the article used for informal this or that. Unlike the others, it is informal, so you would avoid it in any professional realm or public speaking.

Keep in mind that while these look like they would follow the same rules as the articles, the use is completely different. It is perhaps the most closely aligned with their English counterparts, it will take you some time to get accustomed to using them.

Omitting and Adding Articles

One of the biggest problems with articles is that most languages are not consistent about how they are used. There are a number of instances where you should add the article where you wouldn’t in English.

Most nouns require an article.

At first it will feel awkward to say  j’aime la glace because its direct translation is I like the ice cream. Similarly, Je n’ai pas mangé beaucoup de tarte mean  I ate a lot of pie.

The most difficult will be the use of articles before plural nouns, whether you are using the French articles that are equivalent to a/an or the. Where in English you would say Horses were running in the field, the direct translation from French is The horses were running in the field.

Then you have a few cases where you omit the article, and these largely require memorization.

  • Some set expressions do not include articles, and these you must memorize one by one.
  • Articles are not used when specifying what a person’s job is.
  • When you use de (indicating an unspecified number of something, such as many or lots of) you would not use an article afterward.

Articles are always difficult to learn in any other western language. It takes time, work, and a considerable amount of memorization, particularly from a non-gendered language like English.

It is best to take it slow and learn them one at a time. Because there is some overlap, once you are comfortable with one set of French articles, you will have an easier time getting accustomed to the others.

That is also why you need to really dedicate time to learning whether a noun is masculine or feminine.

Do you have any tips for using French articles correctly? Share them in the comments below!

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9 Cooking Blogs To Follow For Amazing French Recipes

French recipes

One of the best things about learning to speak French is the opportunity to enjoy amazing French food!

Even if you don’t have plans to travel to France anytime soon, you can still take a culinary journey in your own kitchen. These nine French cooking blogs are absolute must-follows for foodie francophiles!

Check out classic French recipes, contemporary takes on traditional flavors, and soak up a bit of French culture.

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Everyday French Chef

sole-meuniere1-300x225

Think you don’t have time to prepare authentic French recipes?

Think again! The Everyday French Chef can teach you how to make delicious French food without spending all day slaving in the kitchen.  Written with normal working people in mind, this fabulous blog simplifies the art of cooking fine French cuisine.

We recommend: Sole Meunière

Thanks to The Everyday French Chef, you can make this classic French dish in just minutes. It’s perfect for a romantic dinner for two.

French Girl Cuisine

blackcurrant-tart-recipe-5

The author of French Girl Cuisine is Natacha Gajdoczki, a French girl living and cooking in Switzerland.

Her recipes range from quick and simple for beginning chefs to more challenging dishes for kitchen wizards. She also occasionally mixes in flavors from other neighboring European countries. One thing that all her recipes have in common is how delicious they look!

We recommend: Blueberry Tart

Cook up this fresh and beautiful dessert to impress dinner guests, or keep it for yourself.

French Revolution Food

DeviledEggsCampagne2

The author of French Revolution is a native New Yorker who takes inspiration from her French mother’s cooking as well as American cuisine.

Describing her recipes as “French-American Fusion”, she shares recipes that are simple and flavorful, and always come with a fun story to set the scene.

We recommend: Summertime French Country Deviled Eggs

Chocolate and Zucchini

raw_truffles-3

Looking for fresh, modern, and seasonal French recipes?

Written from her Parisian kitchen, Clotilde Dusoulier’s blog Chocolate and Zucchini is precisely what you’ve been searching for. This modern French cooking blog highlights recipes that are both simple and delicious, as well as being great for cooks at all levels.

We recommend: Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Who doesn’t love a little sweet treat? Roll up these little truffles by hand to impress your friends or a special someone.

My French Kitchen

carrot-and-poppyseed-cupcake-001

My French Kitchen is a beautiful, artistically done French cooking blog that encourages creativity and experimentation in the kitchen.

Based in Touraine, this blog explores traditional French flavors and is sure to inspire you to be freer and more imaginative in your cooking. Along with the beautiful food photography, My French Kitchen also often features lovely watercolor illustrations and photographs of French life.

We recommend: Carrot and Poppyseed Cupcakes

These cupcakes are fresh and sweet, and extra moist because they’re made with yogurt.

French Cooking for Dummies

warm goat cheese salad

Who are you calling “dummy”?!?

Actually, appreciating the fantastic ease and simplicity of these French recipes doesn’t make you a dummy at all! Based in Paris, the author of French Cooking for Dummies aims to uncomplicate classic French cooking. With her help, anyone who wishes to try their hand at French cuisine is sure to succeed.

We recommend: Warm Goat Cheese Salad

This classic French bistro salad makes a delicious lunch, taking advantage of the amazing natural flavors of goat cheese and arugula.

On Rue Tatin

shortcake-e1435269358698

Although she is based in France, the author of On Rue Tatin has a worldwide appreciation for both where food comes from and how it is prepared.

If you’re looking for French recipes that are more than just food, this is the blog for you. Explore customs and learn about the meaning of these delicious dishes.

We recommend: Strawberry Shortcake à la Française

In spring when strawberries are fresh, this classic dessert is exceptionally delicious!

The Flo Show

chocolate mousse

Looking for a globetrotting French chef?

Look no further than The Flo Show! This French native shares her internationally-inspired dishes alongside traditional French favorites. For a French spin on world cuisine, this blog simply can’t be beat.

We recommend: 2-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

How can something this delicious and fancy have only two ingredients? You won’t believe how simple and delightful this recipe is.

The Vegan Version

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In traditional French cooking, vegans have very few options among the meats, cheeses, and cream sauces that make up many French dishes.

Seeking to correct this disparity, the author of The Vegan Version is working her way through Julia Childs’ classic recipes and veganizing them.  If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just adventurous in the kitchen, you’re sure to find intriguing new takes on old French recipes.

We recommend: Bouillabaise

A vegan version of this traditional fish soup is actually possible, and not that complicated to make. You’ll be amazed by the authentic flavor!

 

What are some of your favorite French recipes? Share them with us in the comments below!

 

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The Do’s and Don’ts of French Conversation

Dos and Donts of French Conversation

Learning French takes time.

However, that time can be shortened by understanding the best methods, tips, and tricks to use on your language journey. When mastering a foreign language, practice, vocabulary, and pronunciation are going to be keys to your success—and like most things, when you adopt bad habits it may take longer to do it correctly and with clarity.

You’ll also want to avoid certain faux pas when using your newly acquired language skills with native speakers.

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When spoken correctly and respectfully, French can benefit you in many ways. It can open up career opportunities, assist you on your travels, and allow you to meet new, interesting people.

If you’re ready to get started, it’s helpful to know some of the do’s and don’ts of French conversation.

DO Practice French Conversation Whenever You Can, Even if you’re on a Budget

1

Lessons and classrooms aren’t the only place to practice your French.

Many cities and towns around the nation have meet-ups and community groups centralized around practicing and conversing in a foreign language. Use your Google skills to find French conversation meet-ups in your area, and make them a part of your weekly routine.

If you aren’t able to find a group nearby or travel to a French-speaking country, there is always the option to do live online conversations with native French speakers. Explore the multitude of free, innovative websites and other fun ways to learn and speak French—and remember you may have to reciprocate by helping someone with English.

The more you practice the closer you’ll be to mastering French.

DON’T Feel Weird about Reading French Books Out Loud

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Books are a wonderful option for practicing French conversation without having an additional person in the room. Find a book with plenty of dialogue, pull out your handy pronunciation app, and start reading out loud.

At first it may be slow going, but if you do it often enough, you’ll be spewing out French phrases left and right.

Highlight areas of interest, or spots where you felt your comprehension was weak. Revisit those areas after you’ve read a chapter and look up words and phrases.

Feel free to repeat them a few times to commit them to memory.

Hint: If adult literature seems a little too challenging, start with children’s books. The illustrations provide a colorful translator.

DO Use the Internet as a Practice Tool

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The internet is the ultimate free tool when you’re tired of hitting the books.

Flashcards and textbooks can only take you so far—sometimes you need real-world experience.

When you’re tired of studying, go ahead and surf the net. The trick? Do it all in French. You can change language settings to French and use Google translator to change a website’s text to a specific language (like French).

Visit French sites, interact in French on social media, peruse French language blogs, Twitter and Facebook pages, and more.

Watch French YouTube videos and even window shop on French websites. See if you can read the descriptions of items accurately. There is a whole world of French internet out there to explore.

DON’T Forget Games, TV, Music, and Movies

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Reading and speaking are two methods for learning French conversation, but listening is another excellent tool.

Search for online games in French, watch French TV, or stream French movies and music. Before you know it, you’ll start to identify words. Even more important, you can see what context they’re used in.

Body language and tone of voice are two powerful ways to absorb a language on multiple levels.

DO Keep a Vocabulary Book

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Many writers look and listen for new words. They keep a notebook with them (or use a note-taking app if they’re a technology fan), and jot down words that they are unfamiliar with. Once near a dictionary, they will look up these words so they can make them a part of their own vocabulary.

The same principles work for foreign language. If you haven’t heard or seen a word or phrase before, write it down and look it up later. Before you know it you’ll be using it in your own French conversations.

DON’T Practice Bad Words in French

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Chances are, somewhere along your language adventure someone has given you the gift of French curse words or insulting phrases.

A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t say it on the job, to your grandmother or in an educational setting, it’s probably not a great idea to practice it in conversations with others—especially if you’re traveling abroad and are unsure of the cultural customs.

In many countries, bad or disrespectful words and phrases come with more consequences than they do in the US.

DO Work on How to Pronounce French Words Correctly

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It’s better to have it correct the first time than to continuously use incorrect pronunciation. Technology makes it easier than ever to learn correct pronunciation.

If you aren’t in your lessons or with a native speaker, pull out a book, app, or check a language program on your computer. There are a variety of resources available, and each will appeal to an array of learning styles.

Try a few methods to find the one that fits you best.

Tip: Great apps include Lingodiction, (How to) Pronounce, and Pronunciation King. Excellent books are French Phonetics and The Sounds of French.

DON’T Resort to Using English when French Conversation Gets Hard

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Understanding only a small fraction of a conversation can feel overwhelming and isolating. You feel lost and confused, and it’s easy for your confidence to suffer.

When you were a toddler, it was second nature to simply sit and absorb, even if you didn’t fully understand what was going on around you. Try and put that incredible ability back in your learning toolbox and apply it when you start to feel unnerved.

You may want to resort to using English to get a point across or ask someone to explain something in English—but don’t. Each time you persevere through an entire conversation as a listener or speaker, the closer you’ll be to understanding and speaking French fluently.

It’s easy to give up, but far more rewarding to keep going, even when it’s hard.

DON’T Ignore Common Cultural Cues

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One of the most important things you’ll learn to do is read and respect cultural cues. This is a skill that can take you far in life, whether you’re in your own country or abroad.

Depending on the French speaker you’re talking to and where they’re from you’ll have a different set of customs to honor. For example, in France it’s not customary to be informal about names with people you don’t know well. It’s common to be more formal and direct. The warmth and familiarity will emerge as you get to know someone.

If you plan on traveling or staying abroad for a period of time, do a quick search on common etiquette guidelines. It will enhance your conversations as well as your overall learning experience.

DO Work Hard on Learning the Basics of French Grammar

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No matter what language it is, the word ‘grammar’ strikes fear into the heart of learners of all ages. Nothing is more daunting than conjugation, modifiers, tenses, and the endless rules.

The good news is if you were able to learn the basics of English grammar you can learn the basics of French grammar. The rules tend to be more straightforward, and as you put them into play, speaking and interpreting French will get easier.

While French conversation is indeed essential to mastering the language, so is basic grammar.

DON’T Lose Hope

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In learning, we hit walls and roadblocks.

Let’s say you’ve figured out greetings and can recognize a good amount of vocabulary. You may even understand basic grammar. Sometimes stringing all of those things together takes time.

They say practice makes perfect, and it’s a common phrase for a reason. One day, all that hard work will give you the ability to put everything together and you’ll be able to have a fluent French conversation.

Don’t lose hope before the transformation occurs.

DO Travel Abroad and Accept French Conversation Opportunities

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France is not the only travel option for those looking to practice their French. If you feel like going off the beaten path or somewhere closer to home, try places like Quebec (and other parts of Canada), Belgium, Haiti, Madagascar, Monaco, Luxembourg, and Benin.

Look into immersion programs, foreign exchange living situations, adventure travel, and volunteerism in French-speaking areas.

If an opportunity to host a French foreign exchange student arises, or to have a French au pair, take advantage. Foreign language students talk about how much easier it is to learn a language when you are surrounded by it—so practice whenever and wherever you can.

DON’T Be Afraid to Initiate French Conversation

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If you’re standing in line at the museum and hear tourists speaking in French, go ahead and say, “Bonjour.” The worst thing that can happen is that they’ll ignore you.

More likely, they’ll welcome the conversation and appreciate that someone made the effort. The same goes for traveling abroad. French speakers warm up quickly to those who attempt to use the native language—even if it’s a little shaky.

A smile and an attempt goes a long way to receiving patience, practice, and help in French conversation.

DO Put Theory into Practice Whenever You Can

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Sit down one day and make a list of where you can practice French conversation. Look at adding meet-ups, French restaurants, online communities, travel destinations, lessons, and classes.

Brainstorm everything you can think of.

Some will be practical and some will be dreams that happen later on.

The purpose of your list is to put things into context. One of the most efficient ways to gain a skill is to use it in daily life in the proper setting.

If you’ve just learned about ordering in French, find the nearest French bakery. Hop onto Skype and use your newfound vocabulary to talk about the weather with someone in the Congo.

Head to your private tutor and practice telling them what you did the past weekend. The more frequently you use your French lessons in everyday life, the better your conversational skills will become.

Think of the do’s and don’ts of French conversation as a essential guide for your everyday language learning lessons. Each step of the way you’ll know which paths to choose to keep you moving toward fluency.

 

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Guest Podcast: One Thing In A French Day

Podcast One Thing in a French Day

You know the best way to learn French is to practice every day, but where should you start?

One of our favorite ways to study any language is listening to podcasts! Not only do you get the benefit of hearing spoken French, podcasts also contain interesting tidbits of vocabulary and culture you might not get in a textbook. And besides that, podcasts are simply fun.

One of our favorite French podcasts is One Thing In A French Day, a podcast that chronicles one woman’s life in France and presents quick tidbits of daily life in French.

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In this guest podcast, Laetitia of One Thing In A French Day talks about visiting a special Parisian bakery with a diabetic friend.

Aujourd’hui, j’ai accompagné une de mes amies dans un endroit où je ne pensais jamais pouvoir aller avec elle : dans une pâtisserie. Mon amie Maryam est diabétique, elle suit une hygiène de vie qui a pour but de lui faire prendre le moins d’insuline possible. Les gâteaux ne sont donc pas au programme.

Jeudi 12 novembre 2015
La pâtisserie Eugène
Aujourd’hui, j’ai accompagné une de mes amies dans un endroit où je ne pensais jamais pouvoir aller avec elle : dans une pâtisserie. Mon amie Maryam est diabétique, elle suit une hygiène de vie qui a pour but de lui faire prendre le moins d’insuline possible. Les gâteaux ne sont donc pas au programme. Ce qui est étonnant c’est qu’elle ne subit pas sa maladie, elle la vit, elle l’entraîne avec elle, elle lui fait prendre des chemins inattendus. Par exemple, le sport est devenu très important, il lui permet de faire mieux contrôler sa glycémie. Et c’est ainsi que par le sport, elle a vécu une belle aventure : le marathon de Paris. Elle s’est entraînée pendant un an et elle l’a couru au printemps dernier. En ce qui concerne les repas qu’elle se choisit, elle les apprécie avec chaque cellule de son corps, comme elle dit.

Lorsque j’ai entendu parler de cette pâtisserie parisienne dont les gâteaux ont été spécialement créés pour les diabétiques, j’ai pensé à elle. A l’origine du projet, il y a un homme diabétique et très gourmand et un pâtissier.  

Maryam a été enthousiasmée par l’idée et elle était très curieuse de voir l’effet de ces pâtisseries sur elle. Nous y sommes allées cet après-midi. Après avoir longuement étudié la magnifique vitrine de pâtisseries, Maryam a choisi pour nous deux gâteaux : un éclair à la vanille de Madagascar et une tartelette choco-café. Nous sommes rentrées chez elle pour notre dégustation. 

Nous avons partagé les gâteaux en deux et nous avons commencé par l’éclair à la vanille. La vanille, un arôme qui n’était plus qu’un souvenir pour Maryam. C’était une dégustation pleine d’émotions. Cet éclair m’a beaucoup plu, parce que la mousse à la vanille était vraiment délicieuse et le sucre, pour une fois, ne s’octroyait pas la première place. La tarte choco-café était également très réussie. 
Maryam a contrôlé sa glycémie avant la dégustation, puis après une heure et deux heures. Elle avait grimpé bien sûr, mais rien d’incontrôlable par rapport au plaisir ressenti. Merci, cher Eugène !

REPERES
Le site de la pâtisserie Eugène :
http://eugene.paris/

PINTEREST : le tableau de One Thing In A French Day
http://j.mp/SjSKHR

TROIS TOURNURES DE PHRASES UTILES
Un endroit
— J’aime beaucoup cet endroit.    
— C’est un drôle d’endroit, entre le salon de thé et la librairie. 
— Que penses-tu de cet endroit ?  

Etre curieux de quelque chose
— J’étais curieuse de voir cet endroit par moi-même.     
— Etienne m’a dit qu’il était curieux de connaître ta réaction. 
— Je suis curieuse de faire sa connaissance. Il paraît qu’il est très sympathique. 

Pour une fois
— D’habitude j’y vais à pied, mais pour une fois j’ai pris la voiture. 
— Allez, Papa, dis oui ! Pour une fois s’il te plaît !    
— C’est vraiment dommage qu’elle n’ait pas pu venir, pour une fois que nous étions tous réunis.  

N’hésitez pas à vous abonner à la NEWSLETTER DU PODCAST

 

Did you learn anything new from this special podcast? Share your thoughts in the comments below and tell us what French podcast topics you’d like to hear next!

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50 Fun French Games That Will Help You Master the Language

50 Fun French Games

Whatever your level of French mastery, you can always improve your language skills by playing fun French games!

In this list, you will find 50 of the best French games that can be played alone, with a partner, or in a group. Are you ready to have some fun? Let’s get started!

French Card Games

Card games

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1. Piquet

A trick-taking game played by two people, Piquet dates back to at least 1535. If you enjoy card games, purchasing a Piquet deck is a good move, as the cards are needed for many other fun French games, too.

2. Bezique

A derivative of Piquet, Bezique requires two decks and offers additional scoring opportunities.

3. Belote

One of the best French card games, Belote requires two, three, or four players, depending on the variation. Rules vary around the world, but you should try the French version for an authentic experience.

4. French Tarot

After Belote, the most popular card game in France is Tarot, also called Jeu de Tarot. It typically requires four players, but three or five can play when you use a variation.

5. Bouillotte

This is one of the quickest French card games to play. It uses a Piquet deck but with just 20 or 24 cards, depending on the number of players. Bouillotte involves betting, calling, raising, and dropping out, much like poker.

6. Lanterloo

Also called Loo, Lanterloo is a trick-taking game originating in the 17th century. Today, there are many variations, all of which are quite like the English game All Fours. You can play with 3 to 8 players but it is best with 5 to 7.

7. Rams

Another one of the many French card games to choose from, Rams is similar to Lanterloo except you can play with up to nine people. In the U.S., a version of Rams is often played as Rounce with a 52-card deck, but the traditional French game calls for Piquet cards.

8. Polignac

Polignac also goes by the names of Jeux des Valets and Four Jacks. Although it is related to Hearts and Black Lady, it uses a Piquet deck. Games usually require three to six players, but it is possible to play with more by using a 52-card deck.

9. Commerce

For a larger group, Commerce is ideal, as you can play with up to 10 people using either 52, 40, or 32 cards. Much like Thirty-One, the aim is to finish a round with the best three-card hand.

10. Mille Bornes

Meaning “thousand milestones,” Mille Bornes is an easy game to play in French, as you only need to learn a few words and know the numbers.

11. Manille

Yet another option for the Piquet deck, you can play Manille with just two people, but it is best to have four players competing in pairs. As you can see, there are tons of fun French games that you can play with a Piquet deck!

French Learning Games

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12. KidSpeak

KidSpeak is a package of interactive computer games that introduces children to the French language, but adult beginners can use them too! These fun French games cover a variety of topics across three levels of difficulty.

13. Puzzles

Crosswords, word searches, and other puzzles are ideal for learning French words and simple sentences. You can find plenty for free online, or in puzzle books at your local bookstore.

14. Tongue Twisters

There are a huge number of tongue twisters in French. Use them to learn new vocabulary and push your pronunciation to the limit.

15. Hangman

Think of a French word and ask a friend to determine what it is by playing hangman. This is an ideal opportunity to practice the alphabet and some basic vocabulary.

16. Escargot

Meaning “snail,” escargot is a game like hopscotch featuring 15 to 20 numbered squares in a spiral formation. Players hop on one foot to the center of the spiral, and those who succeed write their initial in any square.

Subsequent players must not land in marked squares, making it increasingly difficult to reach the middle as more squares have initials.

17. Role Play

Many of the fun French games in this section don’t require any supplies, so they can be played any time you want to practice your French! In this game, simply create a scenario such as store clerk and shopper, and then practice the vocabulary you know in conversation with a friend.

Video Games in French

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18. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker

Did you know you can switch the language of Wind Waker to French to practice your reading? With ample text, you are sure to encounter new vocabulary in this video game.

19. Indigo Prophecy

There are so many more fun French games you can play by simply changing your language settings. This one is available with full audio and subtitles in French, and the game has an extensive dialogue for extra practice!

20. Heavy Rain

Another story-heavy game, Heavy Rain will push your French skills to the limit as you work hard to make fast decisions.

21. Beyond: Two Souls

Beyond: Two Souls is a game from Quantic Dream, the French developer. Many gamers agree that the voice acting is actually of better quality in French than in English!

22. Assassin’s Creed: Unity

Although all the Assassin’s Creed games are available with French audio, Unity is a top choice purely because it is set in Paris at the time of the French Revolution.

23. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

If you have difficulty understanding French audio alone, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a great choice, as you can set the audio to one language and subtitles to another.

24. Minecraft

Minecraft is an ideal way to learn vocabulary you may otherwise not pick up. Play online in French servers to practice your conversation skills with French natives.

25. Mario Party

If you grew up playing Super Mario Bros., you’ll love the challenge of turning one of your favorites into French. Mario Party and some others are available to play as French games.

26. World of Warcraft

To interact with French speakers, you will need to purchase the French version of World of Warcraft. However, it is certainly worthwhile, as the large amount of communication needed provides you with an excellent opportunity to practice.

Fun French Board Games

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27. Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk

This complex game involves passing through dungeons to defeat the sorcerer Zangdar and recover the last of Gladeufeurha’s statuettes. To win timed battles and skill checks, you will need to push your French skills to the max.

28. Scrabble

Many fun French games like this one are also available in English, so you’ll already be somewhat familiar with them! You can use a regular Scrabble board and create only French words, or purchase a French Scrabble set for a better mix of letters if you prefer.

29. Race to Paris

Race to Paris is designed to help players learn French. You will need to build sentences to earn points — the longer the sentence, the more points you receive.

30. French Bingo

Work on your speaking skills as well as recognition of words by playing French bingo. You can purchase a game or make your own by printing out cards.

31. Fief

Fief is a strategic game set in the Middle Ages. It is best to play with at least four people to form alliances and see a greater number of wins each round.

32. Spot It!

For beginners looking for simple yet fun French games, you can’t go wrong with Spot It! Match cards while learning basic French vocabulary with up to eight players.

33. Djam

Djam is slightly more challenging than some of the other board games, as it requires a greater knowledge of vocabulary to create words beginning with a certain letter on different themes.

34. Mundus Novus

Set in 16th century Spain, Mundus Novus is available entirely in French. The game involves accumulating enough doubloons and resources to beat your opponents.

35. Jarjais

Play during the French Revolution, collecting clues to gather details about the lost treasure and free Queen Marie-Antoinette.

36. Monopoly

Monopoly comes in a huge number of editions, including Paris-Saint Germain. The board and all the cards are in French, allowing you to practice your comprehension skills.

37. Off the Dead: Chapitre 1 – Morts à Venice Beach

The first chapter of the board game Off the Dead is available in French. Use your language skills to kill zombies while avoiding the loss of human lives.

38. Jeu du Nain Jaune

One of the classic fun French games, Jeu du Nain Jaune combines skill and luck. Rack your memory to create sequences in your favor and win rounds. This game is simple enough for kids but involves enough skill that it is fun for adults, too.

Fun French Games Online

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39. Spelling Game

Identify the correct spelling of words and phrases, using a picture for help. In this spelling game, you can choose from numerous topics to practice different aspects of French.

40. Languages Online

The French section of Languages Online features 35 topics to learn, accompanied by several interactive tasks to practice each.

41. Lingo Hut

Featuring 109 lessons in French, each category has activities and fun French games to learn vocabulary.

42. Whack-a-Word

In Whack-a-Word, you must act fast to choose the right English translation of words in French.

43. Memorama

Most of these fun French games help you practice your language skills while you’re at it, and this one is no exception. This memory game will help you learn vocabulary for increasingly difficult topics.

SEE ALSO: 50 French Quotes to Inspire You

French Party Games

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44. Karaoke

All you need to add karaoke to your party are French songs with lyrics and a microphone! You can easily find French karaoke versions of songs on YouTube.

45. Scattergories

Compile a list of categories and pick a letter at random. Participants need to think of as many words as possible beginning with that letter for each category. Award bonus points to those who come up with words no one else does.

46. Trivia

This is another one of our favorite fun French games that you can play anywhere. Make up your own questions or find some online. Play in teams to help each other out with understanding questions and figuring out answers.

47. Qui Suis Je?

You can easily turn the classic Who Am I? into French. Everyone receives a card with the name of a famous person (it’s even better if you use French celebrities). Stick the cards to your foreheads and ask questions in French to figure out who you are.

48. Maman, veux-tu?

Mother, May I? is a great game to enjoy practicing French in a group. Add complex commands that will be difficult to understand to make it a challenge for players to reach the finish line.

49. Sabine a dit

Sabine a dit is “Simon Says” in French. Start easy, gradually increasing the difficulty until only one player is left standing.

50. Pétanque

Take your daytime party outdoors to play Pétanque. Keep score by calling out numbers in French.

Playing fun French games like these is definitely a blast. But if you want to truly master the language try taking French lessons, or online French classes.

The more French you have in your toolkit, the easier these games will become!

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When You Translate French to English Watch Out for These 3 Things

When You Translate French to English Watch Out for These 3 Things

French is one of the most beautiful of the romance languages. Spoken as the official language in 29 countries, French is the second most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union.

Learning to speak and understand any language is a process of immersion.

To truly understand and be able to translate French to English  means understanding French culture and the idiosyncrasies of the language. One highly effective method for truly understanding a language beyond simply speaking it is to translate French into your mother tongue.

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When learning to translate French to English, there are three areas that can prove challenging.

Idiomatic expressions, false cognates, and slang are three areas that can prove challenging to translate for non-native speakers regardless of the language.

To help you get started translating French, let’s take a closer look a how to translate French idioms, false cognates, and slang into English.

French Idioms

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Every language uses idioms on a daily basis.

They often hold either a cultural or historical place in the language so it’s best to memorize them if you want to develop a good conversational base in the language.

The French language is full of interesting, funny and often colorful idiomatic expressions. Many idioms, or argot have their roots in some unlikely places, while others are very close to expressions in the English language.

Learning idioms can be one of the most fun tasks to developing skill in any language. It’s an excellent way to impress and engage native speakers and it gives you the ability to learn the language beyond the common methods of grammar, gender, sentence structure, and vocabulary.

The Benefit of Learning French Idioms

Learning French is entertaining, and enriching. Becoming familiar with idioms and their use in conversation is a helpful tool towards fluency and can help you to attain a native speaker’s knowledge of the language.

Committing French idioms to memory can take time and you should use care when learning to translate French idioms into English. While some are remarkably similar in meaning, others can have completely different meanings and it’s important to understand them from a cultural standpoint.

Common French Idioms And Their English Translations

The French have an obsession with the culinary arts and a surprising number of French idioms have culinary origins! While many have drastically different meanings in English, often when you translate French idioms to English, you’ll find some that have remarkably similar meanings. Here are some common idioms and their English translations

“Ne pas être dans son assiette

English: to not be on one’s plate

This is a well-known expression with its roots in the culinary world. The English translation is literal, but the actual meaning in French is loosely “to feel under the weather”

“Occupe-toi de tes oignons”

English: mind your onions

The “culinary” based idiom, the literal translation seems silly, but the cultural “translation” is basically “mind your business.” While it’s not a phrase that would be used in polite conversation, it often pops up in more informal social situations.

While some idioms (like those above) translate differently than their “cultural interpretations” some have remarkably similar meanings in both languages.

For example:

“Prendre le taureau par les cornes”

English: to take the bull by the horns

Others, while literal translations almost match, can have vastly different meanings from a cultural standpoint, like:

“Avoir les dents longues”

English: long in the tooth

This is a perfect example. In English, this is almost a derogatory statement that means the person is old. In French, this phrase is actually a compliment meaning “to have ambition.”

While most expressions differ slightly and don’t use similar words, some match up smoothly with their English equivalents because the idea behind them is almost the same, for example:

English phrase: “it’s raining cats and dogs”

French: “il pleut des cordes”

English literal translation:  it’s raining ropes

And another example:

English phrase: “to have other fish to fry”

French: “avoir d’autres chats â fouetter”

English literal translation: to have other cats to whip

Can’t get enough of these funny French sayings? Check out the video below for even more French idioms.


While some idiomatic speech will need to be memorized in order to understand, other colloquialisms can be figured out literally, or culturally. Often, the best course of action is to learn these in the native language, then translate French to English and see how they match up.

French False Cognates

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Cognates are words in two different languages that look similar and mean basically the same thing in both languages.

While there are cognates between French and English, you’ll need to be careful. While French and English share a linguistic history, there are plenty of “faux amis”(false friends) between these two languages.

False cognates are words that look the same in each language, but have different meanings, sometimes, vastly different meanings. When speaking with a native French speaker, improperly using these words can easily trick you into saying something senseless or embarrassing that you didn’t mean to say at all!

Here are some common examples to watch out for:

1.  Ancien / Ancient

While ancien can mean ancient, it’s primary meaning is “former.” For example, your ancienne voiture is the car you used to own. A good rule of thumb, if ancien comes before a noun, it usually means former, not ancient or old.

2.  Bras / Bras

Votre bras means your arm, it doesn’t have anything to do with the female undergarment! The French word for bra is un-soutien-gorge.

3.  Blessé’ /Blessed

Blesser means to wound, physically or emotionally. So for example un enfant blessé isn’t a child you are expected to worship, but more likely a child who needs a bandaid!

4.  Monnaie / Money

Monnaie means loose change. So technically, you could have plenty of money, but no monnaie!

5.  Déception / Deception

This is a sneaky one! The verb decevoir, the noun déception and the adjective décu all mean being disappointed or disillusioned and not actually deceived. This could be a problem in conversation if you think that someone is accusing somebody of deceiving the, rather than disappointing them.

6.  Envie / Envy

This is another tricky one, be careful! The verb envier can be used as “to envy” but the noun envie actually means “to desire.”

For example, you could say “J’ai envie d’une glace” which means “I want ice cream,” but if you mean to say, “I envy you” be careful not to say “J’ai envie de toi” because you’re actually saying “I want you!” This could prove to be a bit “sticky!”

In any case, listen to lots of French pop music as part of your learning and you’ll not make this mistake. The phrase comes up a lot!

7.  Grand / Grand

In French as in English, grand can mean great, as in un grande ècrivan – “a great writer,” but it can also mean “big. “ Or, when used to describe physical appearance, “tall.”

8.  Joli / Jolly

Joli(e) means pretty, unlike jolly in English, which means happy or joyous.

9.  Journée / Journey

This is a common faux ami! Une journée translates to “one day.” So if you’re every whished a bonne journée” they are saying “have a nice day” not wishing you “bon voyage!”

10.  Coin / Coin

Coin  in French means corner, not the change jingling in your pocket! Those would be either pieces or monnaaie. Dans le coin means in the nearby or immediate neighborhood.

These are just ten examples of common French false cognates. As you are learning vocabulary, make it a point to recognize, make note of, and memorize the faux amiIt will help you as you translate French to English to make a note of them!

Quiz: Can You Spot These French False Cognates?

French Slang

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Every language has expressions and colloquialisms that add color, spice, and “native status (or ”street cred”) when spoken.

French is no different, and in fact the French slang well is particularly deep, colorful, and rich! Slang is constantly evolving and often the vanguard of the young since expressions can go out of favor quickly.

You may be familiar with the slang form known as “le Verlan” which is created by inverting syllables in a word. Verlan is actually an inversion of the word l’envers, which means reverse.

Many common French slang terms have survived over time like un bouquin for book, and un mec for “a guy,” but with the younger generation a newer form of slang has emerged known as le parler d’jeunes.

The French youth of generation “Y” have created a complex style of slang. It incorporates traditional slang, verlan,  English and Arabic word and even shorthand SMS messages into their speech, even going so far as to create compound forms like inverting syllables in Arabic words!

Remember, as with slang in any language, different interpretations are possible and variations can occur regionally, and even among different age groups.

Here are some common French slang expressions for you:

• Faire gaffe

This is common across generations and in the south. It’s an alternative to faire attention or watch our, be careful. Remember to conjugate faire properly.

Bosser / Taffer

Colloquial version of travailler – meaning to work. When using the noun, le travail can be replaced with le boulot.

•  Nickel

French slang for “perfect.” When something is ok you can confirm it with this word.

Bouffer / la bouffe

informal slang for “to eat” (manger) or “food (la nourriture)

Bof / Bah / Euh

These are great words to use to give your speech a true “native” flair. The French equivalent of uh, or um, used to fill space.  These three are all small interjections you should incorporate in your French speaking.

Bof – signifies mild boredom in English this roughly translates as “meh.”

Euf – is the French equivalent of uh, or um used to stall while “finding your words.”

Bah – is another filler word. Usually used at the beginning of a sentence, it indicates when a person makes an obvious statement.

Mec / Nana

Used pretty much throughout the country and understood as the French equivalent of “dude” and “chick”

Santé!

In English we say “cheers” when celebrating with friends: In France they use santéIt’s a way to toast to each others health. Culturally, make sure to look your guest in the eyes otherwise you may be called out for being rude!

• Oh bonne mère

This phrase is used primarily in Marseille and is the equivalent of “oh mon dieu.”

 

The French language is beautiful and rich. Filled with colorful words and phrases you’ll need to be aware of these idioms, false cognates and slang phrases when you translate French to English.

These are just a few of the choices you’ll have when learning to speak like a native. Like any study, immersing yourself in the local culture will yield a treasure of regional speech that can have you sounding like a native in no time!

When studying the language, make sure to include current popular music and film in your studies. These are both great areas to hear idioms, false cognates and slang in everyday use.

Remember, slang is constantly evolving, so when you’re progressing with your studies, make sure to stay current! It will make your speech sound even more authentic!

What obstacles have you encountered in translating French to English? Share what you’ve learned in the comments below!

 

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Photo by Óscar Velázquez